State Schools to offer Mandarin next year

2015-03-31 00:00

MANDARIN will be offered as an optional second language to public school pupils from Grade 4 to matric from next year.

Basic Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the decision was taken because China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner and it would be an advantage if more South Africans could speak the language.

“The world is a global village and it is important to learn as many languages as possible, especially if we want to compete internationally with other countries,” he said.

“Mandarin will, like French and Italian, be offered in schools that have the resources.”

Rudolf du Plessis, who has worked in China for two years, speaks fluent Mandarin and said he doesn’t think it is a difficult language to speak.

“It’s not that difficult to learn to speak Mandarin, but it takes years to be able to read and write it. It has 6 000 to 10 000 ideograms.”

He said it would take a child about three or four years to learn to read and write Mandarin. He said an exchange programme would also make learning easier.

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